This dish uses the whole butternut squash – skin, seeds, pulp and all – to make a no-waste dinner that scores on all fronts
My friend Aditya comes from Someshwar, a village in the foothills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. There, snake gods are worshipped, everyone has the same surname (Bhakta) and they never knowingly waste any edible part of a vegetable. Today’s recipe is based on one he taught me using plantains. I was so transfixed by the idea that the peel, something I would ordinarily chuck away, could be transformed into such a heavenly chutney that I tried it with squash, too. Luckily, it worked.
Butternut squash coconut fry with seed and peel chutney
Try to get a butternut with unblemished skin. Serve with flatbreads (dosas or chapatis, say), salad, non-dairy yoghurt and, if you’re very hungry, a dal.
Prep 10 min
Cook 35 min
For the chutney
1.2kg butternut squash
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 finger-sized dried Kashmiri chillies, broken into pieces
15g coconut chips (ie, a handful) – I like Daylesford Organic)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp tamarind paste
For the squash coconut fry
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
16 curry leaves
3 green finger chillies, slit lengthways
3 small or 2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into very thin slices
1 ½ tsp tamarind paste
20g coconut chips (ie, a large handful)
1 ¼ tsp salt
Peel the squash, then cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the pulp and seeds: you should end up with 200g of peel, pulp and seeds (if not, bulk it out with a little more peel). Roughly chop the peel and set aside. Chop the flesh into 1.5cm x 1.5cm pieces and set aside separately.
In a frying pan, heat three tablespoons of rapeseed oil on a medium flame and, when hot, stir-fry the cumin and chilli for two minutes. Add the squash peel, seeds and pulp, cook for five minutes, then stir in three tablespoons of water and the coconut chips. Cook for another minute, then stir in the salt and tamarind paste, and scrape into a bowl to cool. Blend the chutney mix with 200ml-250ml cold water to get a smooth consistency.
Make the squash in the same pan. Heat two tablespoons of oil and, when hot, stir-fry the mustard seeds, half the cumin seeds, the curry leaves and green chillies for a minute. Add the shallots and cook, stirring every now and then, for 10 minutes, until soft and browning. Add the garlic, fry for three minutes, then stir in the squash and five tablespoons of water. Cover the pan, turn down the heat and cook for 10 minutes, until the squash is done (add more water if it gets dry). Stir in the tamarind, coconut chips and salt, leave to steam for a minute, then take off the heat.
Transfer the squash to a plate. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan and, when very hot, add the other eight curry leaves. Let them crackle and pop in the oil for a few seconds, then tip over the squash. Serve with the chutney and flatbreads alongside.
- Food styling: Rukmini Iyer.